Plymouth CA Same Sex Wedding

Plymouth Wine Country Wedding | Plymouth, CA | Jack + Kyle

Today is Kyle’s birthday, so it seems fitting that I gift him with a few more sneak peeks of he and Jack’s amazing Plymouth wine country wedding day.  Jack and Kyle not only live in Amador Country wine country, but they are fully immersed in it: their home is atop a 360 degree view of vineyards and Jack works for Scott Harvey Wines.  If you haven’t had a taste of what Scott Harvey has been producing lately, then you are missing out.  I recommend picking up a bottle of 2013 1869 Zinfandel today!

The boys wanted a completely relaxed backyard affair on their private estate, surrounded by friends and family.  Food, wine, family, and friends are important to this couple and the day completely focused on all of these things.  Scott Harvey wines were poured liberally and the team from Sacramento favorites Mother and Empress pulled out all the stops with a farro burrata salad, grilled oysters, roasted potatoes with beer soaked melted cheese, unbelievably tender meat and sturgeon.

In order to really focus on their relationships with loved ones, the day was completely and incredibly unstructured.  The plan was two-fold, completely unconventional and I, of course, loved it: folks would show up in the late afternoon for appetizers, wines and cocktails and lawn games and then, at my word (yes, mine!), we moved everyone under an incredibly ancient and gorgeous oak tree, overlooking the sunset and vineyards for the ceremony.  Post ceremony, we moved back to the lawn for an al fresco evening dining experience under the stars.  Their ceremony was officiated by two of their best friends and both myself and, I think it’s safe to say, almost all of their guests cried almost the entire time.  In between tears of poignant joy and love for these two boys, we were all laughing hysterically thanks to gems like a “name-that-romantic-comedy” game that was played in the middle.  It was an incredibly tender and moving ceremony that left me feeling in awe of the sheer amount of love that can be given, shared, and accepted in the world.

The events of the last few days have left me heartbroken and distraught.  You know it’s bad when I can’t listen to NPR.  These two incredible men and the beautiful people that surrounded them on their wedding day are remarkable examples of the possibility and far reaching effects of love: it envelopes you in warmth and joy, shares and forgives, laughs and cries, and is an enduring example of the goodness of humanity.  I have to believe that love, and in turn, empathy and kindness, will always prevail in our world.

Venue: Private Estate, Plymouth, CA | Catering: Mother/Empress | Grooms’ Attire: Kait MCKee | Day-Of Coordinator: Allison Caruso of Turley Wines

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Rancho Cicada Retreat Wedding

Rancho Cicada Retreat Wedding | Plymouth, CA | Kerri + David

I have this small disclaimer on my wedding services page that states, “I will always work with budgets if I feel you and your wedding are a right fit.”  People either get it or they so clearly don’t.  The ones that get it send me amazing emails filled with personal details about why they are a good fit.  Kerri and David were some of those people.  She wrote in her email, “I’m trying to surround myself with people on my wedding day that have good/fun energy.”  Kerri talked about how important it was to her to include vendors who fit the bohemian intimate vibe they really wanted to recreate at their Rancho Cicada Retreat wedding.  They couldn’t have picked a better venue for what they were going for either: Rancho Cicada Retreat is a special place.  It’s a no-frills setting that you can rent for the entire week.  It’s lush, overgrown, and green with a brambling brook, hammocks and lawn games.  It’s a place where you can stay up late drinking whiskey by the campfire and no one comes to hush you.  It’s the kind of place where you can dance the night away and there is nary a neighbor to hear you.  It’s the kind of place where you can get married in an idyllic wonderland of green and golden hues, surrounded by as many of your friends and family as you want.  Although it is smack in the middle of one of California’s best wine regions, it feels like you are the only people in the world while you are there.

It’s the kind of venue that breeds a DIY affair and Kerri and David’s was certainly that.  Friends baked all the pies, officiated, and MC’d the night.  The party went on all weekend and their friends and family were so lovely and including that once again at this venue, I stayed and partied the night away in their company.  It seems to happen at this venue.  It’s clearly where the cool couples wed and I certainly can’t wait to return!  I’m feeling pretty grateful that Kerri found me and wrote to me so honestly and candidly and with such emotion.  It was clear from the get-go that these two are full of love and care and it was even more apparent on their wedding day.  Thanks Kerri and David for sharing your wedding retreat with me.  It was an honor!

Venue: Rancho Cicada Retreat | Florist: Matthew Armbruster | Catering: Chuck Collison | Bride’s Attire: Holly Stalder | Groom’s Attire: Thailand | Groomsmen Suspenders: Suspender Superstore | Make-Up: Hawley Lopes | Hair: Amanda Lyn Jones | Rentals: Partysmart Rentals | Videographer: DGL Studio | Succulents : The Succulent Source | Decor: BHLDN | Bridal Bouquet: Eucca Floral Studio | Signage: Marrygrams | Cornhole Boards: Back 40 Life | Cornhole Bags: Sky Pixie Cornhole | Koozies: The Drinking Buddy

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Bluxome Street Winery Wedding

Bluxome Street Winery Wedding | San Francisco, CA | Liz + Engin

All weddings should have farm tables.

All weddings should have relaxed planners and coordinators as amazing as the gals at Posh & Folk.

All weddings should have catering as delicious as the family style meal provided by Melons.

All weddings should have succulents in their bouquets.

All weddings should be at wineries.

This Bluxome Street Winery wedding was nothing short of understated elegance and refined comfort.  It was absolutely perfect for Liz and Engin, who met over wine and envisioned a simple yet stylish evening surrounded by loved ones.  Basically, they nailed it.

I regret not eating pie.

Venue: Bluxome Street Winery | Planning and Coordination: Posh & Folk | Minister: Rev. Maggie Beretz | Florist: The Floral Loft | Caterer: Melons Catering | Bakery: Three Babes Bakeshop | DJ: Heart of Gold DJs | Gown: Allure Bridals | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Rent the Runway | Hair and Makeup: Sacha Badame | Rentals: Bright Rentals

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Bluxome Street Winery Wedding

Bluxome Street Winery Wedding | Engin + Liz | Sneak Peek

Liz and Engin came to me by way of a close friend from high school and I’m so thrilled they did.  Liz is unbelievably kind.  She pays attention to every word you say in a wonderfully earnest way that makes you feel like the most important person in the room.  She’s funny and gracious and Engin is a most wonderful complement to her.  Their ceremony and reception were simple, yet elegant and in a dream venue for me: a winery tasting room!  The Bluxome Street Winery was the perfect location for this dynamic duo because they met over a glass of wine.  Thanks to some help from the fabulous ladies at Posh & Folk, who were the best and most relaxed and organized wedding planners I’ve ever worked with, the event space was styled out in and flipped in mere minutes for a gorgeous family style dinner that I can’t wait to share photos of.  In the meantime, here’s a few frames from Liz and Engin’s wedding day.

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Rock Wall Winery Portraits

Alameda Engagement Session | Lauren + Tim

These two.  I’m so happy they found me and I cannot wait for their West Shore Cafe wedding next March.  Lauren grew up in Texas so I feel right at home with her.  She’s as comfortable in cowboy boots as she is in a dress.  They both love day drinking and specifically, wine.  They believe in the power of breakfast (and possibly even second breakfast) but we didn’t cover that.  Clearly, we are meant to be best friends forever.

They have a fabulous house in Oakland that I adore and for their engagement session, of which, I shall note, Tim emphatically did not want to participate in, we decided to run around to some of their favorite picturesque neighborhood haunts that also involve wine.  Lake Merritt was the perfect spot to start in: one could definitely waste spend away the entire day drinking on the deck of The Lake Chalet.  Next stop up was their local winery.  Lauren and Tim are founding members of the wine club and I have to say the Zin I tried was excellent.

In the end, we ended up with an awesome batch of photos for their session and a super wonderful afternoon.  I couldn’t have asked for a better couple to enjoy my afternoon and evening with!

LOCATIONS

Oakland |  The Lake Chalet Seafood Bar and Grill

Alameda | Rock Wall Winery

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Napa Girls Weekend

Sonoma Girls’ Trip | Published at Love + Wander

Love + Wander

Love + Wander has given me so much internet love over the last year and I’m super appreciative.  It’s a super rad little blog that’s specifically geared towards celebrating photographers who celebrate life.   I’m so thrilled to see this Sonoma Girls’ Trip on their blog last week.  Every time some of my work gets published elsewhere, it’s as if I get to relive the day and this was one of my absolute favorite days of 2014.

You can visit the full post via this link.   Feel free to share some love and thank them for supporting me by leaving comments on their post, sharing it or retweeting us!

You can also follow Love + Wander on facebook and twitter.

Sonoma Wine Weekend

Tahoe Happy Hour

Vacation like a Local: the Best Happy Hours in Tahoe South

  Whether you’re putting the icing on the cake of an otherwise amazing day of skiing, or just doing some day drinking in honor of your vacation, here’s a local’s guide to the best happy hours in Tahoe South.

Jimmy’s at The Landing Resort and Spa

Jimmy’s remains one of my favorite places to imbibe in Tahoe and not just because of their new happy hour specials!  Happy hour occurs daily from 3-6 pm and features a small plates sample menu from classically trained chef Maria Elia, $8 glasses of the red and white wine of the day, $5 draft beers and $8 margaritas.  I love their California twist on Greek cuisine and everything on the menu is stellar.  The fig, feta and pear flatbread pizza is not to be missed and the pork belly souvlaki is always a wise choice.

The Chart House

In addition to it’s impeccable views, The Chart House features one of the best happy hours on the lake!   Sundays to Fridays from 4:30-6:30 PM, The Chart House offers a variety of $7 martinis, $6 cocktails, $5 wines by the glass, $4 well spirits and $3.25 premium drafts.  If that isn’t enough to convince you to stop in, perhaps the $6 Ahi Nachos or $5 calamari small plates will.

Basecamp Pizza

After a long day at Heavenly, there is no need to trek far for an exceptional happy hour.  Basecamp Pizza is located in the center of the Heavenly Village and features live music almost every day of the week.   Happy hour occurs daily from 2:00-6:00 PM and features $5 house wine and $3 drafts.  If you’re hungry after shredding all day, look no farther because their happy hour also offers a $12 personal sized pizza and draft beer special!

Azul Latin Kitchen

If pizza isn’t what you are craving, just head around the corner to the Heavenly Village’s newest addition Azul Latin Kitchen.  Happy hour happens here daily from 2:00-6:00 PM and features a $5 taco and Tecate special, $5 house margs, $3 draft beers and wells, $1.50 chips and salsa and more.  Just a tip though: you must sit in the bar to take advantage of happy hour prices.

Amador Portrait Photographer

Amador Portrait Photographer Sneak Peek

After a whirlwind summer of weddings (34 y’all, 34!), I was desperately ready for some R&R around Thanksgiving.  With the first big Tahoe snowstorm still on it’s way after the holiday, I found respite in the Amador Wine Country, a favorite haunt of mine due to it’s proximity to the Tahoe area.  A short hour and a half drive, and I’m in wine lovers heaven.  Here’s a sneak peak of my Amador Portrait Session with Anne.  More to come – but now that ski season is under way – it may be a few days….

Until then, here’s Anne.

Amador Portrait Photographer

Napa Girls Weekend

Sonoma Vacation Photographer | Published at Gent & Beauty

I was so happy to wake up Wednesday morning to see that the Evalyn Ivy, ran a travel inspiration post featuring my photos as a Sonoma Vacation Photographer.  Evalyn Ivy was formerly known as Gent & Beauty and is a prestigious online Skandinavian Style Magazine run by a very fashionable man and wife duo.  They provide readers with an “eclectic range of inspiration with all the things [they] love housed under one roof.”   I am feeling pretty honored with my inclusion among the beautiful work and photos you’ll find on their website.

Someone recently asked me what my favorite job this year was and this day was it!  I had such a wonderful time following these smart fun Texas women around Sonoma as their vacation photographer that I want to do it all over again.  I still have a few bottles of wine hanging out in my wine fridge from William Selyem that are just waiting for the right occasion to be consumed!

Big thanks to Evalyn Ivy for sharing my work.  You can check out Gent and Beauty’s Travel Inspiration Post featuring my photos via this link.  You can also follow them on Instagram.

Napa Wedding Photographer

Napa Wedding Photographer | Published on Borrowed & Blue

My friends Tracey and Adam are in Napa this week on vacation, fitting as they were married this very week last year at a private estate there and hired me as their Napa wedding photographer.  Tracey and Adam found me on Thumbtack and to this day, I feel so fortunate to have them in my lives.  They are vivacious, fun, wine-loving people destined for a life of win and awesome.  I’m thrilled that as an extra little anniversary present (as if a return trip to Napa wasn’t enough), Borrowed and Blue Napa featured their wedding on their blog!

Head over to Borrowed and Blue Napa via this link to see Tracey and Adam’s intimate Napa wedding featured.

You can also follow Borrowed and Blue on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.